Thaiday: ‘Wayne has my back’
BESIEGED Broncos forward Sam Thaiday has hit back at former Queensland Origin star Chris Walker, insisting he won't be retiring prematurely because coach Wayne Bennett "has my back".
Walker last week provided a candid appraisal of Thaiday's form, urging his former Broncos clubmate to preserve his legacy by quitting immediately to allow Brisbane to blood some younger forwards.
But as he prepares for a gruelling road trip to face the Warriors, Thaiday declared he will see out the final year of his contract, even if he admits he wishes he could turn back the clock.
Thaiday is averaging 57 metres per game this season, well below his glory years when he regularly punched out 100-plus metres as a Test and Origin back-rower.
But the 32-year-old says he has Bennett's support to play on, declaring: "I'm ready to go."
"If I had a time machine, I'd go back and clone myself and bring myself back to the current time," Thaiday said.
"It would be a bit easier. I'm an ageing player, I'm just trying to do my best for the team at the moment.
"Wayne has always had my back and supported me 100 per cent. It's not new news to me."
Asked about Walker's advice, penned in his column on the Queensland Rugby League website last week, Thaiday hit out at his detractors.
"It doesn't matter," he said. "I don't know why you guys (the media) are bringing up old stuff.
"Stop writing gossip columns and stick to writing footy yarns. It's done and dusted."
Asked if there is a possibility he could be dropped by Bennett, Thaiday said: "It's rugby league, nothing surprises me, so we will see what happens.
"But it's good to know I have the full support of Wayne and I will enjoy the year as much as I can."
Fellow Brisbane forward Korbin Sims leapt to the defence of Thaiday, saying he is sick and tired of the criticism being levelled at one of the Broncos' greatest warriors.
"I don't think Sammy's in a funk, he can hold his head high," he said.
"It's tough to see anyone cop it, I wish people would back off my teammates.
"Sam has done some good things and bad things. We've all been a bit mixed, I don't think anyone has had a consistent start across the board.
"I've played with Kurt Gidley and Beau Scott (at former club Newcastle) and Sammy is up there as well with them (as great clubmen).
"I've always admired him since he came to the club. He is a class forward, he knows what he needs to do to get prepared for a game.
"I'm pleased to have played the last year of his career with him and I hope we can see him rip in at the back end."